Overview of Sessions with Allie Chisholm Smith
If you have had any exposure to Ayurvedic medicine, then you know your Doshas: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Their subtle energies are Ojas, Tejas and Prana. Ojas is the subtle energy of Kapha: love and stability (the elements of earth and water). It is a slow energy, a resilient force and a deeply stabilizing presence. It is an antidote for our time.
Our retreat experience is about belonging again, re-imagining our relationship to ourselves, each other and the Earth through the exploration and support of Ojas.
In the Ayurvedic calendar autumn is the time of Vata. Winds get high, we retreat to cold and dryness and often there will be a sense of loss. All of this can manifest anxiety, indecision and make us prone to disease. Ojas provides the antidote of stability and security, including a stronger immune system and deep resilience.
Autumn is the perfect time to focus on this subtle energy.
- Work and Worry Less: Take a break. Disconnect from screens. Breathe deeply. Remember you and your dreams.
- Gentle and restorative Yoga:
- Our daily morning practices will involve a lot of rolling around, twisting and exhaling as we help our tissues release the stored tension of the past while. These practices will include joyful laughter to awaken us to hope and optimism. Over the four days, we will build toward an inner strength and clarity of vision to carry us forward.
- In the afternoons, our Restorative practices will be consciously geared toward adrenal restoration, vagus nerve stimulation to reset our nervous system and re-build our resilience. We will use more props in these classes so that we feel supported and loved no matter how we show up. On one of our days, we will conduct this Restorative practice outside under the canopy of Autumn leaves. These are ultimately practices of the deepest rest, triggering our relaxation response in profound ways.
- Time in Nature: Forest Bathing or shinrin-yoku is widely accepted in Japan’s health care system as an essential ingredient of health and well-being. This concept is quickly making its way into the West in cancer treatment as well as general well-being. Nature builds Ojas because we belong in nature, it stabilizes us, it brings us home to our harmonic resonance. We will experience this in the forest, on the water, cloudbusting from the lawn and stargazing by the bonfire.
- Breathing practices (Pranayama): The breath bridges mind and body. It is one of our greatest tools to boost the health of our digestive, circulatory, respiratory and endocrine systems. We will explore the healing and restorative power of vagus nerve stimulation through pranayama both in our yoga practices and in our nature bathing.
- Grounding, stabilizing foods: Gastronomy will reign as we dine on whole foods with good life energy, fresh and lots of good fats included so that everything is hydrating our dry/anxiety-ridden selves. Ojas is about enjoying and savouring using all of our senses.
- Oils: Oils build our derma layer, detoxify and hydrate our cells. Aside from healthy oils in our food, Allie will use some essential oils in Restorative yoga and you might opt for a luxurious massage…
- Connection: Everything that we are planning revolves around connection with self, others and the Earth. Ojas thrives on connection, soul centred sharing and a slowly seeping sense of belonging.
What’s My Dosha? The goal of Ayurvedic medicine is self-knowledge. At conception, we were determined to be a unique ratio of elements (Doshas), giving us a certain skill set and collection of foibles with which to navigate life. However, through specific events, dramas and moments, that ratio changed and we got out of balance. Through the accessible language of the 5 elements, we can determine how you can boost your immune system, raise your resilience and return to you. Through easily integrate techniques you will know how to bring more balance and well-being into your life. Prior to the retreat, you will be sent a questionnaire to determine your Prakruti — your original Doshic profile — and your Vikruti or imbalance. When we gather for Friday’s workshop, we will discuss the results and their meaning. This is always a deep learning and usually involves gales of laughter at our idiosyncrasies. The result is incredibly empowering in terms of owning your well-being and, frankly, your life. Oh and you will also have ammo for why your friends or significant others behave the way they do!
Anxiety from an Ayurvedic Perspective: Anxiety is labelled as indigestion of the mind in Ayurveda. It is caused by an inability to process the stimulation and events of our life.
Pulling from the first workshop, we will be able to better understand what makes us prone to anxiety and how to curve the ball before it hits. This workshop will explore simple ways, like how and what you eat, that will help you and your loved ones to overcome this rampant issue.
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